Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
dillpickle48

News on the Westerdam

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, dreamers25 said:

Just got an email the 29th cruise is cancelled 😢

 

About time.  Sorry it won’t happen but I honestly think it is the best thing for your health and safety.  Hopefully HAL moves on the March cruises quickly.  This isn’t changing in two weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, hal2008 said:

Stopping in HK - even with information available then - was greedy.

They took no preventive measures even when country after country wisely denied them porting.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  In retrospect it would have been good if they had not but...

 

Hong Kong was not under quarantine at the time.  Even Air Canada was still flying there after they barred the rest of China.  They have cut down flights to Hong Kong now effective March 1st but only because of lack of demand.  From their website (bolded).

 

From March 1-27, 2020, Air Canada will temporarily suspend its daily non-stop Toronto-Hong Kong flights, reflecting reduced market demand. The airline's daily, non-stop Vancouver-Hong Kong flights will accommodate customers originally booked on its Toronto-Hong Kong flights.

Air Canada normally operates 14 weekly flights to Hong Kong, seven from Toronto and seven from Vancouver.

Flights to and from Taipei remain unaffected. 

 

If Air Canada was going and they tend to be fairly conservative I don’t think we can fault HAL for stopping there.  

 

I’m sure many will disagree but this was over 2 weeks ago and a lot has changed since then.

 

16 minutes ago, SunNFunCruzer said:

 

 

I don't believe it was an issue of Princess not paying for flights. Japan wouldn't let any passengers off the Diamond once the virus was identified onboard.  I think HAL rushed as many passengers off asap as soon as Cambodia allowed it.

 

Good point and I agree.

 

I am sure that a lot of passengers were anxious to get home.  Uncertainty is not a fun thing.  I know the crew did a lot for the passengers but still I’m sure many were anxious to get home and the pressure was on.  JMO though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, dreamers25 said:

Just got an email the 29th cruise is cancelled 😢

 

I'm sorry if you are disappointed with that decision.  However, at least now you KNOW which imho is much better than wondering and speculating. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Valued Guest:
 
We are very sorry to inform you that your Westerdam cruise departing February 29, 2020 has been cancelled. 
 
Holland America Line has been closely monitoring the very fluid and evolving situation with respect to the new coronavirus that originated in mainland China. Our medical experts are being briefed regularly and coordinating closely with international health authorities to ensure we protect the health and well-being of our guests and crew, which is always our top priority. 
 
The difficult decision to cancel this cruise comes out of an abundance of caution considering the highly dynamic and unpredictable changes we have seen the past couple of weeks in travel restrictions and port operations that could affect your cruise. While we expect things will stabilize, we never want to put our guests in the position of a having an experience that doesn’t live up to their expectations.    
 
All guests will receive a full refund of their cruise fare, Holland America Line Flight Ease air, pre- and post-cruise hotel packages, prepaid shore excursions and other prepaid items purchased through Holland America Line, and taxes, fees, and port expenses. Your refund will be processed automatically via the method of payment used to pay for your cruise. 
 
As your cruise has been cancelled so close to departure, each guest will also receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 50% of the cruise fare paid on this voyage. The terms and conditions of this Future Cruise Credit appear below. 
 
We understand this cancellation may cause you to incur additional expenses, such as air change fees. Reimbursement of reasonable non-refundable expenses will be considered. A Change Fee Reimbursement Form is available at http://*****/HALchgf; please complete this form and submit it, along with any relevant receipts and documentation, for review by our corporate office. If you purchased a Cancellation Protection Plan or independent vacation travel insurance, please submit your claim through your carrier before submitting a reimbursement request.
 
Should you have any questions, please contact us at the appropriate office:
Seattle Office (USD/CAD currency):
Contact us at 1-800-577-1729 or 206-626-7385. We are available Monday – Friday, 7:00am – 5:00pm PT.
Rotterdam Office (EUR currency):
Contact us at 00800 1873 1873. We are available Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 6:00pm.
Southampton Office (GBP currency):
Contact us at 0344 338 8605. We are available Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 6:00pm.
Sydney Office (AUD currency):
Contact us at 1300 987 321. We are available Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 7:00pm.
 
Again, we extend our deepest apologies for this cancellation. Please know that we share in your disappointment and deeply appreciate your patience and understanding of these circumstances. We sincerely hope we have the opportunity to meet and exceed your expectations in the near future.
 
Kind regards, 
 
Holland America Line


Future Cruise Credit (FCC) Terms & Conditions
The value of this credit may be applied to the cruise fare only of a new cruise or Land+Sea Journey reservation with Holland America Line, and it is combinable with any other applicable discount. While the credit is valid for one year from the date of this email, please note that it needs only to be applied to the new booking by that time; the cruise does not need to depart within this timeframe. Although you may choose any stateroom category, this offer is dependent upon space availability and cannot be transferred, refunded, or used as a deposit. This credit may not be used for onboard expenses, pre- and post-cruise packages, shore excursions, taxes, Cancellation Protection Plans, Home City Air, Hotel Service Charges, or other optional programs or services. We ask that you or your travel professional verify this offer with our Reservation Agent at the time your new reservation is placed. For your convenience, the credit is built in direct association with Mariner Society numbers so it will automatically be credited toward the cruise fare of the next Holland America Line sailing booked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are still a few flights each week by Chinese airlines to Canada. Beijing/Shanghai to Toronto/Vancouver.
One from Beijing landed yesterday and one from Shanghai today.


Air Canada still flies from Hong Kong to Toronto/Vancouver for the rest of this month and then only to Vancouver in March.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

 

I'm sorry if you are disappointed with that decision.  However, at least now you KNOW which imho is much better than wondering and speculating. 

Totally agree, feel like the weight of the world has lifted from my shoulders. I really feel for HAL at this time. Just glad that they had the sense to cancel 😊😊 Now to plan our next cruise to a much safer part of the world..,, the Caribbean looks good 😂😂

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I know of Australians who have returned from the Westerdam,  local news has reported that they are at home in self isolation.  Don't know exactly what this means.  Someone must be making sure they have food etc. No indication as to passengers who were on the same plane or came in contact with them at the airport or further transportation.  Seems a bit of a mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder what HAL will be doing with the Westerdam.  And, what about her crew who depend upon gratuities received for a significant part of their income?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, rkacruiser said:

I wonder what HAL will be doing with the Westerdam.  And, what about her crew who depend upon gratuities received for a significant part of their income?

I suspect the crew is now more concerned about their own health now that it has been confirmed that at least one passenger was infected with the COVID-19 Virus.  One would suspect that the crew of more then 720 plus the 200+ remaining passengers now face at least a 14 day Quarantine.   Our best wishes to all of those folks and hope they all stay healthy.

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, dillpickle48 said:

From what I know of Australians who have returned from the Westerdam,  local news has reported that they are at home in self isolation.  Don't know exactly what this means.  Someone must be making sure they have food etc. No indication as to passengers who were on the same plane or came in contact with them at the airport or further transportation.  Seems a bit of a mess.

There a lots of people in  self isolation were i live . People arriving from China have been  typically self quarantined for 14 days. They talked to one one the radio two days ago. His wife and daughter drove to the air port in two cars. He took one home they went to relatives. His wife  had  made frozen meals for his next 14 days . His neighbours are leaving any other needs on his door step. then calling him to advise him its there. Thats how responsible handle the situation . That is being done by over 100 returning from China the last few weeks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hal2008 said:

 

From the beginnig HAL has behaved like a sleez bag.

 

Sure, HK was not ona prohibited list. It were, they wud not have choice.

But given choice, they turned out to be greedy ones.

 Western media and especially HAL's press releases were trying to make fun of countries rejecting Westerdam.

Without being able to test a single person, HAL kept saying that there is no case of coronavirus (similar to what Indonesia is claimimg about their country).

 

They keep repeating that temperature scan were taken on Feb 10.

But pax disembarked on 13/14.

 

Combodia goofed up big time by not insisting on proper diagnostic test before letting people off. But their PM has even less moral standard than some other leader we are familiar with. He is still allowing flights to/from China. So he obviously doesnt care about safety of his people.

 

I hope friends/relatives picking up the timebombs that have escaped and are now landing in US population behave with some common sense and morality.

 

US Govt should round these (potential) escaped time bombs and quarrantine them just like Wuhan evacuees, IMHO.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the original cruise was Feb 1 - Feb 15th.  With everything going on, early reports of sick, they should have kept everyone on board until each of these timetables had passed:

 

Feb 1st + 14 Days

Taiwan visit + 14 Days

Last known cold/flu recovery + 14 Days

 

Since everyone was supposedly healthy the final week, that would have been 7 extra days max to be on the safe side.  Testing temperatures means nothing while one is in the incubation stage.  On Feb 10th, one could have been infected before embarkation, and still show no symptoms.

 

HAL certainly botched this.

 

 

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

I wonder what HAL will be doing with the Westerdam.  And, what about her crew who depend upon gratuities received for a significant part of their income?

 

I thought I understood from past tipping discussions that there is some wording in their contracts that says the cruise line will make up the difference if the tipping fails to reach some threshold amount on any given cruise. I have no idea how a cancelled cruise is handled but can't imagine that there isn't some provision for that as well.

Edited by cruisemom42

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, gnr25 said:

There are still a few flights each week by Chinese airlines to Canada. Beijing/Shanghai to Toronto/Vancouver.
One from Beijing landed yesterday and one from Shanghai today.


Air Canada still flies from Hong Kong to Toronto/Vancouver for the rest of this month and then only to Vancouver in March.

 

Only met with "walking on egg shells" suggestions.

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-coronavirus-outbreak-prompts-canadian-officials-to-weigh-asking-all/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, iancal said:

I think HAL’s statements contain a great deal of gobbly  gook and CYA.

 

My view is that HAL was considerably less than prudent for stopping in HK.  Their performance in Cambodia has left me cold.  Overall it is a pretty bad show.

 

 The on board team clearly tried to make the best of things, performed above and beyond,however they could not remediate the basic issue.  
 

All the rah rah rah and press releases will not change the basic facts of this unfortunate situation.

I agree. The onboard team was apparently great, but surely HA corporate could be doing more for all the passengers currently facing this nightmare in Cambodia.   To tell some folks that “ they’ll be sleeping at the airport” in Phnom Penh seems pretty harsh. And the decision to board in Hong Kong seems counter to their position that passenger safety is paramount. 

 

I’m also not sure why they felt so confident in repeatedly telling every news outlet out there this past week that no one on board had corona virus. No doubt they were rushing to get everyone off before any case manifested. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gatour said:

Why don't you go over to the Crystal and Seabourn boards and find out for yourself.  I have been bouncing between the HAL and Princess boards to see what is going on, even though I have no skin in the game.  I.E. no current cruises booked.

Everyone is talking about whether their upcoming asian cruises will be cancelled or not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, kazu said:

 

I don’t know about the feasibility or not but, if it were and if they could be re-provisioned & re-fueled they could head back across the Pacific to the United States.  By then the quarantine period would nearly be up and they could either a) stay on the ship or b) be tested and then go to a quarantine centre in the U.S.

At least that way they would be back in North America.  Crazy thought maybe?

 

Any guesses as to how many Unexpectedly newly-minted 4 and 5 star mariners will eventually be made with that scenario?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty informative New York Times story. We already know much of this, but there is some interesting analysis of the possibility of the Westerdam passengers triggering a pandemic.

 

* * *

 

By Richard C. Paddock, Sui-Lee Wee and Roni Caryn Rabin
New York Times
Feb. 16, 2020    Updated 4:09 p.m. ET

 

An American woman who left a cruise ship in Cambodia last week and flew to Malaysia with more than a hundred other passengers has tested positive for the coronavirus, alarming health experts who fear that some exposed passengers who then traveled onward could become a new source for global transmission.

 

In all, 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members were aboard the Westerdam, a Holland America Line cruise ship that left Hong Kong on Feb. 1. It was at sea for just under 14 days, the time frame that is believed to be the maximum incubation period for the highly transmissible virus.

 

Cambodia allowed the ship to dock after it was repeatedly turned away by other countries over coronavirus concerns. Officials said that more than 140 other passengers from the Westerdam had flown by Saturday from Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. All but the American woman and her husband were eventually allowed to continue to their destinations, including airports in the United States, the Netherlands and Australia.

 

As of Sunday, 233 passengers and 747 crew members were still on the ship docked at Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Holland America said. The more than 1,000 other passengers departed Sihanoukville on charter flights to Phnom Penh and were in various stages of transit home, the cruise line said.

 

It was unclear whether Cambodia would seek to quarantine passengers who are still in the country, or whether those who had left by plane would face quarantine in their own countries when they arrived.

 

“We anticipated glitches, but I have to tell you I didn’t anticipate one of this magnitude,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, adding that the best approach to containing a broader spread of the virus from the Westerdam would be to track down all of the passengers and quarantine them for two weeks.

 

“This could be a turning point” in the epidemic, Dr. Schaffner said. “We have potentially many people in many countries, and all it would require is just the establishment of another outbreak in another country and that could potentially tip the scales.”

 

Dr. Eyal Leshem, director of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, called the disclosures “extremely concerning” and said the passengers who traveled onward from Kuala Lumpur substantially increased the risk of a pandemic.

 

“We may end up with three or four countries with sustained transmission of the virus,” he said. “It may be more and more difficult to make sure this outbreak is contained only within China.”

 

Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen — who has argued that fears about the coronavirus are overblown and refused to evacuate Cambodian students from Wuhan, the Chinese city where it emerged — personally greeted many Westerdam passengers with flowers when they disembarked on Thursday. But he may have put his own citizens at risk as a result.

 

The biggest cluster of cases so far outside China, where the virus emerged, is on another cruise ship, now off Yokohama, Japan. And hundreds of passengers from the ship docked in Cambodia, the Westerdam, have already departed for several countries.

 

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, said at a news conference on Sunday that the American woman, who is 83, had tested positive twice for the virus.

 

The woman and her husband, 85, also an American citizen, were both hospitalized and in isolation. The husband has also been tested twice for the virus, and the results were negative both times. But he has pneumonia, which is often a sign of the virus that appears before it can be identified through testing.

 

The Westerdam was allowed to dock in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on Feb. 4, but was turned away in Taipei, Taiwan, and by ports in Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States territory of Guam, according to local news media reports and a relative of passengers onboard. With Holland America insisting that no one on the Westerdam was infected, Cambodia agreed on Thursday to let it dock.

 

After Malaysia announced that the American passenger had become ill, the Kaohsiung Department of Health asked taxi drivers who had driven passengers to report in for health checks, The Taipei Times reported.

 

The global fight against the coronavirus is complicated by the fact that different countries may have different levels of disease surveillance and prevention measures. While the World Health Organization provides guidance, it is up to each country to enforce these standards, including whether to quarantine people who may have been exposed or to stop them from traveling.

 

The Cambodian government said passengers and crew members were screened using protocols of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States before being allowed to disembark.

 

Their temperatures were checked, and about 20 people who had reported being sick during the trip were tested for the coronavirus, according to a statement issued Sunday by the United States Embassy in Cambodia. All of them tested negative.

 

Dr. Schaffner said it might have been wiser to test each disembarking passenger, because other screening methods — like questionnaires and temperature taking — are fallible. People eager to get off a ship may not respond entirely truthfully to questioning, and sick people’s temperatures vary during the day, he said, generally being lower in the morning.

 

The woman who tested positive for the virus did not visit the ship’s medical center during the cruise to report any symptoms of illness, Holland America said in a statement on Sunday.

 

The woman and her husband were among 145 passengers from the ship who then flew to Malaysia. All went through thermal scanning at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and 137 were allowed to fly on to other destinations, officials said.

 

But the American couple and six other passengers were stopped and tested for the virus. The other six were later cleared for travel.

 

After the American woman initially tested positive, both Holland America and Cambodia questioned the result, calling for further testing and confirmation. Malaysia carried out a second round of testing, which officials said on Sunday had confirmed that the woman was infected.

 

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said that the country would not accept any more passengers from the Westerdam, which is still docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

 

“If there’s one passenger who is confirmed, the others are potentially in trouble,” said David Hui, director of the emerging infections disease center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He recommended that the other passengers be quarantined in their home countries for 14 days.

 

The World Health Organization is working with local authorities to have samples sent to regional reference laboratories for further testing said a spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic.

 

President Trump tweeted his thanks to Cambodia for allowing the ship, more than 600 of whose passengers were Americans, to dock.

 

Many of the passengers went sightseeing in Sihanoukville after the ship docked in Cambodia, visiting beaches and restaurants and getting massages. On Sunday, after Malaysia’s announcement, the remaining passengers and crew members were restricted to the ship, and buses that had been scheduled to transport them were parked nearby.

 

Coordination between Malaysia and Cambodia appears to have been minimal. In a letter to his Malaysian counterpart on Sunday, the health minister of Cambodia, Mam Bunheng, said he had learned through the news media that the first test of the American woman had been positive.

 

Attempts to contact Cambodian officials for comment were not immediately successful.

 

Holland America said in its statement on Sunday that no other passengers or crew members had reported any symptoms and that passengers who had returned home would be contacted by their local health departments. There were no details on how that would be arranged.

 

“We are in close coordination with some of the leading health experts from around the world,” said Dr. Grant Tarling, chief medical officer for Holland America Line. “These experts are working with the appropriate national health authorities to investigate and follow up with individuals who may have come in contact with the guest.”

 

The company said that before the passengers’ departure, the passports of everyone on board had been reviewed to make sure that no one had traveled through mainland China in the 14 days before the cruise.

The company defended the health screening it had conducted during the cruise and on arrival in Cambodia.

 

But it did not respond to a question on whether it had been appropriate to let Westerdam passengers travel to many parts of the world without putting them in quarantine first.

 

Christina Kerby, 41, a communications director with BlueShield in California, said she was among a group of passengers who had nasal and throat swabs taken in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Ms. Kerby was supposed to fly to Singapore on Sunday and then on to San Francisco.

 

Ms. Kerby said that her temperature had been taken two or three times during her stay on the ship, and that passengers were required to fill out health questionnaires detailing whether they had symptoms such as cough, fever and diarrhea.

 

“I can’t really comment on how this was missed, but I did feel very safe and well cared for on the ship,” she said, adding that she believed Holland America “was operating appropriately given the situation.”

 

Ms. Kerby said she had discussed the risk of going on the cruise with her family. She boarded the ship in Hong Kong and traveled with her 75-year-old mother and her brother.

 

“We made the decision that it’s not worth passing up the potential to have a lot of fun and see the world just out of fear,” she said. “That’s why I joined, and I think the other passengers have the same feeling.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, BarbarianPaul said:

My heart goes out to all the passengers stuck in Cambodia, and it sounds like there’s a lot of them. What bothers me the most is that HAL is not staying in contact, and seems to have washed their hands of any further responsibility once they got folks off the ship as fast as possible. But maybe it’s not true. Does anyone know if HAL has offered to assist stranded passengers? Who’s paying for their hotels?

 

And why does it seem that HAL is all alone in this mess, other than, of course, the Diamond Princess? Wasn’t the Crystal Serenity facing some challenges? Not sure, but I think the Seabourn Ovation was supposed to be in Hong Kong the same day as the Westerdam on Feb. 1. How did they avoid this? Or did they bypass Hong Kong?

 

52 minutes ago, BarbarianPaul said:

Everyone is talking about whether their upcoming asian cruises will be cancelled or not. 

If you actually dived in you would have actually have seen how Crystal and Seabourn have handled the situation.  I did and it didn't take much effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, gatour said:

 

If you actually dived in you would have actually have seen how Crystal and Seabourn have handled the situation.  I did and it didn't take much effort.

Do you have any info to share?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Dr.Dobro said:

Pretty informative New York Times story. We already know much of this, but there is some interesting analysis of the possibility of the Westerdam passengers triggering a pandemic.

 

* * *

 

By Richard C. Paddock, Sui-Lee Wee and Roni Caryn Rabin
New York Times
Feb. 16, 2020    Updated 4:09 p.m. ET

 

An American woman who left a cruise ship in Cambodia last week and flew to Malaysia with more than a hundred other passengers has tested positive for the coronavirus, alarming health experts who fear that some exposed passengers who then traveled onward could become a new source for global transmission.

 

In all, 1,455 passengers and 802 crew members were aboard the Westerdam, a Holland America Line cruise ship that left Hong Kong on Feb. 1. It was at sea for just under 14 days, the time frame that is believed to be the maximum incubation period for the highly transmissible virus.

 

Cambodia allowed the ship to dock after it was repeatedly turned away by other countries over coronavirus concerns. Officials said that more than 140 other passengers from the Westerdam had flown by Saturday from Cambodia to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. All but the American woman and her husband were eventually allowed to continue to their destinations, including airports in the United States, the Netherlands and Australia.

 

As of Sunday, 233 passengers and 747 crew members were still on the ship docked at Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Holland America said. The more than 1,000 other passengers departed Sihanoukville on charter flights to Phnom Penh and were in various stages of transit home, the cruise line said.

 

It was unclear whether Cambodia would seek to quarantine passengers who are still in the country, or whether those who had left by plane would face quarantine in their own countries when they arrived.

 

“We anticipated glitches, but I have to tell you I didn’t anticipate one of this magnitude,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, adding that the best approach to containing a broader spread of the virus from the Westerdam would be to track down all of the passengers and quarantine them for two weeks.

 

“This could be a turning point” in the epidemic, Dr. Schaffner said. “We have potentially many people in many countries, and all it would require is just the establishment of another outbreak in another country and that could potentially tip the scales.”

 

Dr. Eyal Leshem, director of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, called the disclosures “extremely concerning” and said the passengers who traveled onward from Kuala Lumpur substantially increased the risk of a pandemic.

 

“We may end up with three or four countries with sustained transmission of the virus,” he said. “It may be more and more difficult to make sure this outbreak is contained only within China.”

 

Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen — who has argued that fears about the coronavirus are overblown and refused to evacuate Cambodian students from Wuhan, the Chinese city where it emerged — personally greeted many Westerdam passengers with flowers when they disembarked on Thursday. But he may have put his own citizens at risk as a result.

 

The biggest cluster of cases so far outside China, where the virus emerged, is on another cruise ship, now off Yokohama, Japan. And hundreds of passengers from the ship docked in Cambodia, the Westerdam, have already departed for several countries.

 

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, said at a news conference on Sunday that the American woman, who is 83, had tested positive twice for the virus.

 

The woman and her husband, 85, also an American citizen, were both hospitalized and in isolation. The husband has also been tested twice for the virus, and the results were negative both times. But he has pneumonia, which is often a sign of the virus that appears before it can be identified through testing.

 

The Westerdam was allowed to dock in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on Feb. 4, but was turned away in Taipei, Taiwan, and by ports in Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States territory of Guam, according to local news media reports and a relative of passengers onboard. With Holland America insisting that no one on the Westerdam was infected, Cambodia agreed on Thursday to let it dock.

 

After Malaysia announced that the American passenger had become ill, the Kaohsiung Department of Health asked taxi drivers who had driven passengers to report in for health checks, The Taipei Times reported.

 

The global fight against the coronavirus is complicated by the fact that different countries may have different levels of disease surveillance and prevention measures. While the World Health Organization provides guidance, it is up to each country to enforce these standards, including whether to quarantine people who may have been exposed or to stop them from traveling.

 

The Cambodian government said passengers and crew members were screened using protocols of the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States before being allowed to disembark.

 

Their temperatures were checked, and about 20 people who had reported being sick during the trip were tested for the coronavirus, according to a statement issued Sunday by the United States Embassy in Cambodia. All of them tested negative.

 

Dr. Schaffner said it might have been wiser to test each disembarking passenger, because other screening methods — like questionnaires and temperature taking — are fallible. People eager to get off a ship may not respond entirely truthfully to questioning, and sick people’s temperatures vary during the day, he said, generally being lower in the morning.

 

The woman who tested positive for the virus did not visit the ship’s medical center during the cruise to report any symptoms of illness, Holland America said in a statement on Sunday.

 

The woman and her husband were among 145 passengers from the ship who then flew to Malaysia. All went through thermal scanning at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and 137 were allowed to fly on to other destinations, officials said.

 

But the American couple and six other passengers were stopped and tested for the virus. The other six were later cleared for travel.

 

After the American woman initially tested positive, both Holland America and Cambodia questioned the result, calling for further testing and confirmation. Malaysia carried out a second round of testing, which officials said on Sunday had confirmed that the woman was infected.

 

Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said that the country would not accept any more passengers from the Westerdam, which is still docked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

 

“If there’s one passenger who is confirmed, the others are potentially in trouble,” said David Hui, director of the emerging infections disease center at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He recommended that the other passengers be quarantined in their home countries for 14 days.

 

The World Health Organization is working with local authorities to have samples sent to regional reference laboratories for further testing said a spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic.

 

President Trump tweeted his thanks to Cambodia for allowing the ship, more than 600 of whose passengers were Americans, to dock.

 

Many of the passengers went sightseeing in Sihanoukville after the ship docked in Cambodia, visiting beaches and restaurants and getting massages. On Sunday, after Malaysia’s announcement, the remaining passengers and crew members were restricted to the ship, and buses that had been scheduled to transport them were parked nearby.

 

Coordination between Malaysia and Cambodia appears to have been minimal. In a letter to his Malaysian counterpart on Sunday, the health minister of Cambodia, Mam Bunheng, said he had learned through the news media that the first test of the American woman had been positive.

 

Attempts to contact Cambodian officials for comment were not immediately successful.

 

Holland America said in its statement on Sunday that no other passengers or crew members had reported any symptoms and that passengers who had returned home would be contacted by their local health departments. There were no details on how that would be arranged.

 

“We are in close coordination with some of the leading health experts from around the world,” said Dr. Grant Tarling, chief medical officer for Holland America Line. “These experts are working with the appropriate national health authorities to investigate and follow up with individuals who may have come in contact with the guest.”

 

The company said that before the passengers’ departure, the passports of everyone on board had been reviewed to make sure that no one had traveled through mainland China in the 14 days before the cruise.

The company defended the health screening it had conducted during the cruise and on arrival in Cambodia.

 

But it did not respond to a question on whether it had been appropriate to let Westerdam passengers travel to many parts of the world without putting them in quarantine first.

 

Christina Kerby, 41, a communications director with BlueShield in California, said she was among a group of passengers who had nasal and throat swabs taken in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Ms. Kerby was supposed to fly to Singapore on Sunday and then on to San Francisco.

 

Ms. Kerby said that her temperature had been taken two or three times during her stay on the ship, and that passengers were required to fill out health questionnaires detailing whether they had symptoms such as cough, fever and diarrhea.

 

“I can’t really comment on how this was missed, but I did feel very safe and well cared for on the ship,” she said, adding that she believed Holland America “was operating appropriately given the situation.”

 

Ms. Kerby said she had discussed the risk of going on the cruise with her family. She boarded the ship in Hong Kong and traveled with her 75-year-old mother and her brother.

 

“We made the decision that it’s not worth passing up the potential to have a lot of fun and see the world just out of fear,” she said. “That’s why I joined, and I think the other passengers have the same feeling.”

Wow. This is not good press for HA, but it does appear as if situation was mishandled, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, it is not good press.  It is a disaster.  HAL needs to get ahead of this from a PR perspective and stop the nonsense that is currently coming from their communications folks IMHO.  They are starting to look worse than silly.
 

 But it certainly gives a different picture than HAL’s  public statements do.  It is a mess.  The frightening thing is that it could get worse.  Here’s hoping that it will not.  Feel sorry for any luckless air traveller who happened to be on the same plane as an ex Westerdam cruiser.  Could mean two weeks of isolation for them.

 

 

Edited by iancal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very disturbing. Hope they can get this under control before a pandemic occurs, if it isn't too late already after this fiasco. Very foolish of HAL. Nightmare for passengers, crew and those who ended up in transit with passengers who disembarked and went home. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just don't understand the hate on HAL.

Nobody onboard had the virus.  Nobody reported symptoms.  Everyone well.   They were onboard longer than what many are saying is the incubation period and nothing presented. People were checked and every thing done as suggested by WHO and CDC.

Why are they now blamed?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...